No. 144 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Civil Division, No. FR 1978 - 217.
Edwin R. Frownfelter, McConnellsburg, for appellant.
R. Harry Bittle, Chambersburg, for appellee.
Cercone, President Judge, and Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.
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The instant case is an appeal taken by Mary A. Dile [hereinafter referred to as "mother"] from the order of the
[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 461]
lower court which awarded primary custody of the mother's two children, Keith Alan and Yudie L. Dile, to Martha Ann Dile, the children's paternal grandmother [hereinafter referred to as "grandmother"].*fn1 In her brief, the mother makes three arguments: (1) that the court below erred when, pending the full custody hearing, it allowed the grandmother to retain custody of the children; (2) that the court below erred in finding that the grandmother had shown sufficient reasons at the hearing to justify an award of custody to her; and (3) that the visitation order for the mother entered by the court was unduly restrictive regarding the children's contact with non-related adult males. We find appellant's first two arguments to be unpersuasive, however, we do find that the lower court awarded its restriction in the visitation order too broadly, and therefore we modify that order.
The mother first argues that the lower court erred when, pending the full custody hearing, it allowed the grandmother to retain custody of the two children. The mother would have us rule that a court may never grant a temporary custody order to a third party where a child's natural parents are available to take custody. We must reject this argument as being devoid of merit.
As the court below wrote in its opinion, of necessity, the children had to be somewhere during the pendency of the action. The temporary custody order was granted to the grandmother to maintain the status quo until a hearing could be held. The position advanced by the mother has no authority to support it, and we find it to be without merit.
The mother next argues that as a matter of law the evidence at the hearing failed to indicate "convincing reasons"
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why the best interest of the children would be served by awarding custody of the children to the grandmother.*fn2 In this Court's decision of In re: Custody of Hernandez, 249 Pa. Super. 274, 376 A.2d 648 (1977), we clarified the standard to be used in custody cases when the dispute is between a parent, or parents, and a third party, distinguishing ...